Leafs look for more against Jets
Monday, 02.06.2012 / 11:54 PMMAPLE LEAFS (28-19-6) at JETS (24-24-6)
: SNET-O, TSN-JETS
: Toronto 6-3-1; Winnipeg 4-5-1.
: This is the final of four season meetings. The home team has prevailed in each of the first three, including the most recent, a 4-0 win for Toronto at Air Canada Center on Jan. 5. On New Year's Eve, the Jets won the only other matchup in the MTS Centre, 3-2, behind a goal and an assist from Blake Wheeler
: Toronto will look to keep moving up the conference standings when they visit Winnipeg on Tuesday. After a 6-3 defeat of the red-hot Edmonton Oilers on Monday – its third straight win – Toronto moved to seventh in the standings with 62 points. Winnipeg sits in 10th – seven points out of playoff position – and needs to shake an offensive slump in order to avoid falling further.
: Dating back to Jan. 23, Toronto has won five of six – including two recent wins over teams (Pittsburgh, Ottawa) who are battling for playoff position with the Leafs. While the Leafs' trademark offensive prowess has been on display over that period, a more encouraging sign for Toronto is the resurgence of young goalie James Reimer
. Reimer has been in the net in all of Toronto's three straight wins, including a 49-save gem in Ottawa on Saturday. His 27 saves on 30 shots against Edmonton Monday was a feat in itself; the Oilers had scored five and eight goals in their last two games.
Toronto will likely go with backup Jonas Gustavsson
as they complete a back-to-back Tuesday, and that's just as well. Gustavsson is 2-2 is four career matchups with the Jets franchise, with a 2.42 goals-against average.
: Back home from a six-game road trip in which they went 2-4, Winnipeg knows that overall record is a bit complimentary to the recently impotent Jets. The offense simply can't find the back of the net – five goals over the trip – nor is it attempting to do so that often, with less than 25 shots recorded in five straight games. Those trends were on full display Sunday in Montreal, where the struggling Canadiens cruised to a 3-0 win.
"We didn't do a lot of things well through two periods," coach Claude Noel said. "We didn't win battles, we looked mentally fatigued, we looked like we were worn down."
: After a three-game scoreless streak, Toronto's Phil Kessel
is back to his top-five scoring form. Kessel has 3 goals and 3 assists in his last 10 games. He has 22 points (10 goals, 12 assists) in 23 career games versus the Winnipeg franchise.
: Evander Kane
went on injured reserve with a concussion on Jan. 20, a period of seven games. He still leads Winnipeg in goals, with 18. The Jets desperately need his attacking prowess, but the winger's status is still uncertain. Tim Stapleton
(lower body) is day-to-day.
: Winnipeg might want to take a page or two from Toronto's offensive playbook. Over a six-game stretch in which they've gone 5-0-1, the Leafs have scored 23 goals. Toronto is sixth in goals per game (3.09) and fifth in power-play conversion (20.0 percent).
: Without an uptick in scoring, the Jets will continue to squander valuable points. Winnipeg is seven points behind eighth-place Ottawa in the overall standings, and five points behind Florida for the top spot in the Southeast. Noel said the Jets must find energy to snap the slump.
"When I look at the energy level it looks like we've been on the road for two weeks," Noel said. "For us the biggest thing will be finding some energy for the game on Tuesday (at home against the Maple Leafs)."